Doctor Who (1963–1989)
3 user 2 critic

The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Nine 

As the trail continues, the Doctor presents an event from his future as evidence of his reform.


Chris Clough


Pip Baker, Jane Baker

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Colin Baker ... The Doctor
Bonnie Langford ... Melanie
Michael Jayston ... The Valeyard
Lynda Bellingham ... The Inquisitor
Honor Blackman ... Professor Lasky
Michael Craig ... Commodore
Denys Hawthorne Denys Hawthorne ... Rudge
Yolande Palfrey Yolande Palfrey ... Janet
Malcolm Tierney ... Doland
David Allister David Allister ... Bruchner
Tony Scoggo Tony Scoggo ... Grenville
Arthur Hewlett ... Kimber
Simon Slater ... Edwardes
Sam Howard Sam Howard ... Atza
Leon Davis Leon Davis ... Ortezo


With the case for the prosecution concluded, the Doctor begins his presentation for the defense. Afforded the same privileges as the Valeyard, with access to the Matrix, the Doctor presents evidence that's to take place in his own future. Now in the company of a new, energetic traveling companion named Mel, the Time Lord answers a mayday from the Hypherion III. a luxury star-liner that ferries between planets Moga and Earth. Brought before Commodore Tonker Travers, an old acquaintance of the Doctor's, the Time Lord is dismayed that Travers is far from pleased at his presence. The Commodore knows from experience that, whenever the eccentric time traveler appears, all hell breaks loose. Confined to guest areas of the ship, the Doctor and Mel attempt to discover who sent the mayday, but it's an investigation that will lead to a more alarming threat than either could have dared to imagine, one which involves a web of intrigue and a dark secret concealed within the ship's cargo hold. Written by Robert McElwaine

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-G | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 November 1986 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Other rejected segments were 'Paradise 5' by 'PJ Hammond', which involved The Doctor and Peri searching for a disappeared professor on a holiday resort and 'The Hollows of Time' by Christopher H. Bidmead, which had them encountering The Master in a small English village. See more »


The Doctor: Before you go rushing off, Mel, do you know what a Judas goat is?
Melanie 'Mel' Bush: Uh, yes, it's a decoy goat that's tied to the stake to lure the tiger out into the open.
The Doctor: Getting badly mauled in the process. I think I shall refuse the role.
See more »


Featured in The Chronic Rift: Colin Baker: The Sixth Doctor (2018) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Nine
11 August 2019 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

It is murder in space Agatha Christie style in The Terror of the Vervoids as the Doctor conducts his defence and goes to future events on board of a space liner Hyperion III.

The story marks the first appearance of new companion Mel (Bonnie Langford.) As the Doctor just plonks out a story from his future, we have no idea how she met the Doctor. Mel is getting the Doctor to exercise and drink carrot juice. At least Bonnie Langford plays to her strength as a dancer. She was good at the aerobics type of things. When it came to acting she was soon to her default setting of scream and scream until I am sick. (Yes I am old enough to remember her from Just William.) I think it was only when she did Eastenders about 30 years later did Bonnie showed any signs of subtlety in her screen acting.

Al least Colin Baker managed to get a partial change of costume, a new waistcoat and it looks rather better on him. Oops he still has the horrendous overcoat and pants though.

As for the rest of the episode. Pip and Jane Baker introduce a whole slew of characters on the spaceship. An investigator has arrived incognito but he soon rumbled by an old man. Someone has sent a Mayday signal to the Tardis and the Doctor must respond but he thinks he might be the tethered goat for a hungry lion. At least the Doctor is more cautious here, a change in the character Colin Baker always said that he wanted his Doctor to have.

The person who may have called the Doctor has disappeared, looks like they met a grisly death. The ship also has some strange cargo. Plants laying dormant, with a lack of light there is no photosynthesis. Some seeds that have been stolen and something in the isolation room.

The cast includes Honor Blackman and Arthur Hewlett, both of them were in The Avengers. A couple of actors such as Malcolm Tierney give it an air of villainy.

Nothing much happens in this episode, it sets the scene in an introductory episode. It an interior based story, some dark corridors indicating menace but the director managed to do a few shots of the ship in space.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows to Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse all our free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed